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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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then marked off by stakes. Five hectares of ground in Poland was in-
sufficient to provide food for a family, particularly where it was poor
arable land, an average of 20 hectares had been considered as a normal
holding. These new tenants were forbidden to build cottages on their
holdings, and as they had no capital or suitable implements, were told to
work c collectively 3—the first step, as they were well aware, towards
collectivisation, a word which had a depressing sound in Poland. The
Polish peasants knew the history of the Ukrainian and Russian small-
holders, who had received the land promised them by the Soviets. When,
after a few years., collectivisation was introduced, those who had worked
hard enough to make good were denounced as * kulaks ' and liquidated.
Thousands fled across the Polish frontier in despair to beg for food.
By this hastily completed c Lublin reform ' the larger estates., which had
been, as in other countries, the main source of the food supply for
the towns and industries, were destroyed. Since the country-side had
received orders to supply the Red Army with food and this Army requisi-
tioned everything upon which it could lay its hands, there was little
left for the population of the towns. The living conditions were already
practically impossible and the people were suffering from severe under-
nourishment,, for now the market available to them had become even
smaller. There had been great hopes that U.N.R.R.A. would help,
but these hopes proved futile when Moscow refused to allow this body to
enter Poland. The refusal was typical of the general Soviet mistrust of
any foreign organisation on territories under their control. For public
consumption, they announced this was due to the possibility that agents
of the Intelligence Service might be included among the relief
personnel. After the authorities of U.N.R.R.A. had struggled over this
question for one year, President Lehman (head of U.N.R.R.A.) found the
only solution to this dead-lock was to appoint a Russian citizen to be in
charge of the relief delegation to Poland in March, 1945. After
the Yalta Conference, when the position of the c Lublin Committee * had
been settled as far as the Soviets were concerned, Moscow agreed to permit
U.N.R.R.A. to enter Poland. But a wide chasm existed between this per-
mission and its fulfilment. Moscow again, through the c Lublin Commit-
tee * this time, demanded that control of the distribution of relief should
be placed in their (the Soviets) hands. Such an act would be contrary to
the international status of U.N.R.R.A., who anticipated distributing relief
in war-stricken countries through the medium of personnel not connected
with these countries, and therefore not influenced by any local political
organisation. But, as in the Soviets' system of subordination, food
becomes the most important weapon with which to master the mob, there
was little hope that U.N.R.R.A. or any other relief organisation from
abroad would be allowed to enter * Lublin's Poland.'
The largest factories, co-operatives and estates of public bodies., especi-
ally all printing plants, including their stocks of paper and machinery*